In Praise of Folly

In Praise of Folly

by Desiderius Erasmus
     
 

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Erasmus displays cunning wit in his satire In Praise of Folly. Erasmus' characterization of Folly is cleverly constructed, and the irony in his essay is thick. Folly (the essay's central character) praises herself endlessly, arguing that life would be dull and distasteful without her. Of earthly existence, Folly pompously states, "you'll find nothing frolic or

Overview

Erasmus displays cunning wit in his satire In Praise of Folly. Erasmus' characterization of Folly is cleverly constructed, and the irony in his essay is thick. Folly (the essay's central character) praises herself endlessly, arguing that life would be dull and distasteful without her. Of earthly existence, Folly pompously states, "you'll find nothing frolic or fortunate that it owes not to me." Folly venerates her comrades, Self Love, Flattery, Oblivion, and Pleasure, whom she believes promote friendship and tolerance within society. Above all, Folly lauds self-deception and foolishness, finding Biblical support in favor of her beliefs. In conclusion, Folly speaks directly of Christianity, regarding its religious authority and practices. Erasmus adopts a pure Latin style commonly shared by many Renaissance humanist writers. In addition to its rhetorical brilliance, In Praise of Folly makes a fierce statement about 16th century Christian ideals.

Emmalon Davis
CCEL Staff Writer

This edition features an artistic cover and a new promotional introduction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013041578
Publisher:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
557 KB

Meet the Author

Desiderius Erasmus - (1466-1536), Humanist scholar
The Dutch humanist, Desiderius Erasmus, was born at Rotterdam, apparently on October 28, 1466, the illegitimate son of a physician's daughter by a man who afterwards turned monk. He was called Gerrit Gerritszoon (Dutch for Gerard Gerardson) but himself adopted the tautalogical double name by which he is known. He attended the school of the "Brothers of the Common Life" at Deventer. On his parents' death his guardians insisted on his entering a monastery and in the Augustinian college of Stein near Gouda he spent six years -- it was certainly this personal experience of the ways of the monks that made Erasmus their relentless enemy. At length the Bishop of Cambrai made him his private secretary. After taking priest's orders Erasmus went to Paris, where he studied at the Collège Montaigu. He resided in Paris until 1498, gaining a livelihood by teaching. Among his pupils was Lord Mountjoy, on whose invitation probably Erasmus made his first visit to England in 1498. He lived chiefly at Oxford, and through the influence of John Colet his contempt for the Schoolmen was intensified.

In 1516 was published his annotated New Testament, virtually the first Greek text, and in 1519 his edition on St. Jerome in nine folio volumes. In both of these works the aim of Erasmus was to introduce a more rational conception of Christian doctrine, and to emancipate men's minds from the frivolous and pedantic methods of the Scholastic theologians. But when the Lutheran revolution came he found himself in the most embarrassing position. Those of the old order fell upon him as the author of all the new troubles. The Lutherans assailed him for his cowardice and inconsistency in refusing to follow up his opinions to their legitimate conclusions. In 1521 he left Louvain, where the champions of the old faith had made his stay unendurable and with the exception of six years in Freiburg, he spent the rest of his life at Basel.

Erasmus stands as the supreme type of cultivated common sense applied to human affairs. He rescued theology from the pedantries of the Schoolmen, exposed the abuses of the Church, and did more than any other single person to advance the Revival of Learning.

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